Recommendation for a small PCB job?

Thread Starter

navyguy

Joined Sep 27, 2019
103
Looking to get maybe a dozen small one sided PCB boards made. I’ve done it myself but would rather have it done by a real company. Any recommendations out there who does small jobs?

thanks
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,219
One-sided boards are the same cost as 2-sided boards at every commercial house. There are some differences in how they want the bottom/other side defined, but that is up to the house.

In fact, if you want a 1-sided board and only a 1-sided board with no solder-resist on the bottom, that might require clever used of your design program or a lot of expense.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,219
The thing that distinguishes Oshpark from the Asian manufacturers in my experience is availability of help. At Oshpark, correspondence is answered by a knowledgeable person, usually Dan Sheadel. At the other places, one usually goes through a layer(s) of canned responses. Earlier this year, I needed plated through slots with EAGLE. Neither of the two houses in China provided an answer. One simply didn't respond. After I sent several examples of the different approaches to the other, the response was "we'll get back to you." That was more than 6 months ago. Oshpark actually wrote a cam program to do that with Eagle.

Yes, I have used a few China manufacturers, but from the perspective of getting one's first board made, I think the availability of Dan's advice is more than worth the cost difference. The only complaint I have with Oshpark is its soldermask. One used to be able to choose any color so long as it was purple. Now you have a choice of purple or "Afterdark", which looks like clear over a black PCB. Very artsy. I wish it offered some other colors but understand the cost and speed reasons for a standard color. BTW, as I understand it, Oshpark does not make make the boards itself. It aggregates designs that are submitted and then outsources the full panel to an American manufacturer.
 

sagor

Joined Mar 10, 2019
248
The answer for "best" may depends on the size of the board. Small boards may be ok with sites like Oshpark, where they charge by the square inch. However, for larger boards, like a full 100mm x 100mm (almost 4"x4"), Oshpark would be close to $75 for 3 large boards. It would be cheaper in that case, to go with one of the better Chinese vendors like JLCPCB or PCBWAY where you can get 10 boards up to 100mmx100mm for around $5. JLCPCB charges $2 for 5 boards. With the difference in price, you can pay the extra express shipping and still save money. Also, most of the Chinese vendors listed do the job in 3-4 days instead of 9-12 days from Oshpark (as listed on their site). Difference in shipping time may make it about the same time by the time you get your boards.
Not to knock any vendor. Like I said, if you have some very small boards, Oshpark may be more viable. Larger boards, it would be cheaper to shop on other sites. Shop around, add up the cost per board, then add in time and shipping costs as well. Then review your options.
 

panic mode

Joined Oct 10, 2011
1,856
on recent projects i also used JLCPCB and was happy. they sent me emails when they had questions or suggestions (like where to place their own label with job number). i am in Canada and boards arrived in 10 days. when the boards are smaller enough one can panelize them to better use particular type of deal. for example if your have 25x50mm board, and you choose 100x100mm limit, no reason to order them as individual PCBs, for few minutes of extra effort you can place several boards within the deal limitation (like mentioned 100x100mm for example). there are even videos on this, here is one of first that shows up:
 

mcardoso

Joined May 19, 2020
152
I used JLCPCB as well for a recent project. I'm very happy with them and their quality. 1.7x3.5" board, 25 pcs was around $12 + shipping.

Shipping is cheap and slow or $30 and 2 day.
 

Thread Starter

navyguy

Joined Sep 27, 2019
103
One-sided boards are the same cost as 2-sided boards at every commercial house. There are some differences in how they want the bottom/other side defined, but that is up to the house.

In fact, if you want a 1-sided board and only a 1-sided board with no solder-resist on the bottom, that might require clever used of your design program or a lot of expense.
thank you so much!
 
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